Theodoor Rutgers

Founder and Director

Theodoor Rutgers is the co-founder of DDF services, now known as Catalyze. Theodoor raised >100 million Euro in subsidies and grant for different types of organizations, and has been involved in the start-up of several early stage (life science) companies.

Jalal Es-Sbai

Founder and Director

Jalal Es-Sbai is a co-founder of DDF Services, now known as Catalyze. Jalal Es-Sbai has raised >100 million Euro in subsidies and grants for different types of organizations. Jalal specializes in business development and financing strategies for innovative companies in multiple sectors (life sciences, energy, valorization and technology).

Quirein te Roller

Commercial Director

As Commercial Director, Quirein is responsible for all Sales and Business Development operations, both in The Netherlands and abroad. Within Catalyze, he leads the Marketing & Communication activities as well as the Strategic Funding Unit.

Kirsten van Benthem

Commercial Manager

Kirsten van Benthem is the Commercial Manager at Catalyze. She uses her experience and expertise in Pharma and FMCG in order to manage departments Business Development, Marketing & Communication, Contract Management, and Strategic Funding Unit.

Virginia Ballotta, PhD

Country Manager Switzerland / Business Developer

Virginia Ballotta is a Business Developer at Catalyze. She is located in Basel, Switzerland, and is the reference contact for all customers in Switzerland, Italy and France.

Annika van Rosmalen

Account Manager / Business Developer

Annika van Rosmalen advices biotech companies and life sciences researchers on the best funding opportunities for their R&D projects. Annika uses her knowledge of – and strong network in – the biotech industry to expand Catalyze’s client portfolio, both on a national and European level.

Neeltje Ramnath-Willems

Manager Agri, Food and Bio-Economy

Neeltje has a passion for helping people and companies bring their innovative and disruptive ideas, research, products and solutions closer to the market and to patients. This means help them build strong collaborations, a network of trust, a sound business strategy and acquiring the necessary funding to achieve all this.

Wouter Nuytinck

Account Manager / Business Developer

Wouter combines his scientific background with his sales and account manager experience within the life science industry. He is passionate about carrying innovative ideas forward and helping companies and researchers in bringing their technologies to the market.

Nawal Bahia El Idrissi, PhD

Head of Strategic Business Development

Nawal completed two Master programs Biomolecular Sciences and Management and Entrepreneurship in the Health and Life Sciences at the VU University in Amsterdam. Subsequently, she was awarded a personal grant from the NWO and started her PhD at the Academic Medical Center where she studied the immune mechanisms involved in tissue damage in neurological diseases.

Mats Ouwehand

Business Developer

Mats is a Business Developer at Catalyze and combines his account manager experience with his educational background in Life Sciences. A passion for networking and a strong interest in Life Sciences are his key drivers to bring innovative ideas to life.

Nima M. Karimi

Business Developer

Nima is a Business Developer at Catalyze with expertise for the Nordic markets. He combines his advanced degree from UC Berkeley with commercial experience from Medicon Village and San Francisco to advise life sciences researchers on the best funding opportunities for their R&D projects.


Vlad Grecu, MSc

Business Developer

Vlad uses his scientific and business background to connect young companies and academic researchers with the right European grants. After graduating with an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Nottingham, Vlad completed a Master in Management in Barcelona and decided to move to Amsterdam. Here, he follows his ambition of helping disruptive innovations that have a high impact on society reach the market.


Stijn Hertel

Contract Manager

Stijn is planning to obtain his LLB in Dutch Law at the Hague University of Applied Sciences next academic year. He joined the co-determination committee for his program 3 years ago and during this time developed a preference for working in an international organization. His goal is to apply his legal background and negotiation skills to benefit Catalyze now and in the future.

Elmieke Boot, PhD

Manager Consultancy

Elmieke Boot is manager consultancy for Catalyze’s Amsterdam office, leading an operational team of 30 consultants with the aim to provide optimal and high quality support for our clients in the most effective manner.

Marlene Végh, PhD

Branch Manager

Marlene Végh is Branch Manager at Catalyze and is responsible for Catalyze’s Utrecht and Switzerland offices. In her role, Marlene directs all operational aspects of Catalyze’s Utrecht and Switzerland offices, and is responsible for determining and carrying out strategic plans for our offices, together with the Management Team.

Josta Kevenaar, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Leader

Josta Kevenaar obtained her Bachelor’s degree Psychobiology at the UvA and her Master’s degree in Neurosciences cum laude at the VU in Amsterdam while she was continuously active in several committees and boards. Thereafter, she continued her academic career as a PhD-researcher at the department of Cell Biology at the Utrecht University.

Peter van den Berghe, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Leader

Peter van den Berghe is working as a Senior Consultant and Cluster Leader at Catalyze. Peter and his team are responsible for assisting our clients in defining their Life Science research and development projects, writing project proposals and establishing competitive international public-private consortia.

Helen Pothuizen, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Leader

Helen uses her scientific knowledge and strong research experience (obtained in multiple academic positions) combined with a clear business focus to help build collaborative partnerships in/between academia and industry and to move innovative R&D projects forward. She leads a team of ~5 consultants and enjoys guiding starting consultants. Together with her team, Helen strives to provide you optimal support in establishing the most competitive project applications and ideas.


Patricia Celie

Specialist Senior Consultant


Patricia has a PhD in Life Sciences, and is consultant at Catalyze since 2011. She completed the management and entrepreneurship BioBusiness Masterclass (HollandBio-de Baak; 2013) and Master course Finance for Growth at VU University (2017). At Catalyze, Patricia enabled R&D projects valuing >€35M, with awarded projects in programs including Horizon 2020, its SME instruments, EUROSTARS, EuroTransBio, and EFRD. She has experience in EU-level project management, business cases & plans, and client-tailored assignments. At Catalyze, Patricia helps to develop innovative research, for academia and industry.


Heike Schmidlin, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Lead

Heike Schmidlin holds a PhD in immunobiology and for several years has worked in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as in technology research consulting. Working with Catalyze since 2014, Heike applies scientific knowledge, research expertise and industry experience to support clients to raise funding and bring innovations to the market.

Boaz van Driel, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Lead

Boaz van Driel, PhD is the type of consultant that is driven by the envisioned brighter and healthier future that his clients aim to achieve. Because of this drive, it comes easy to fully engage with his clients and co-develop creative and innovative solutions to societal challenges. In the past, he has successfully structured grant applications for large consortia and small start-up companies. At Catalyze, he applies commercial, organizational, and scientific approaches and knowledge to the development of projects, ensuring the right combination of features that maximize the chances of finding your project funded.

Sara Schaafsma, PhD

Senior Consultant / Cluster Lead

Sara Schaafsma obtained her Master’s degree in Biology at the University of Amsterdam and obtained her PhD degree at the University of Groningen. With the support of two private funding agencies, she then studied the mechanisms underlying autism development at The Rockefeller University in New York. With a Marie Curie individual fellowship, she returned to The Netherlands to continue her research line at the University Medical Center Utrecht. At Catalyze, Sara combines her broad interest in biology with her experience in scientific writing and project management to help clients define their research, develop their projects, write project proposals and establish competitive international public-private consortia.

Leanne Schmitz, PhD

Senior Consultant / Team Lead

Leanne Schmitz is working as a Senior Consultant and Cluster Leader at Catalyze in the Utrecht Office. Together we her team she strives to get funding for research and development projects via collaborative partnerships, strategic positioning and writing competitive proposals.

Peter Ochodnicky, PhD

Senior Consultant / Quality Manager

Peter Ochodnicky is inspired by biomedical innovation from both academic and industrial environment and strives to bring these innovations to life through excellent consulting. He combines support of clients in fundraising with management of internal quality control processes and provides training in grant writing and academia-driven entrepreneurship. He holds PhD in Medical Sciences from University of Groningen and worked previously as senior pharmacologist and regulatory drug documentation assessor.


Rick Kwekkeboom, PhD

Senior Consultant

Rick Kwekkeboom, PhD, has 9 years of experience in setting up, managing, and funding public-private partnerships in life science & health, 4 of which were spent at Catalyze. He was responsible for raising over €20 million of non-dilutive funding for different types of organizations, and strategic planning of (public-)private partnerships. From project intake to project start, Rick pays special attention to the strategic position of an innovation in the market to discover how an innovation can sustainably contribute to equality and a fair society, in addition to being profitable.

Claudia Coomans, PhD

Senior Consultant

Claudia Coomans holds a PhD in endocrinology/neurophysiology from Leiden University Medical Center. By obtaining various (inter)national grants, she financed her line of research at the LUMC. At Catalyze, Claudia combines her broad interest in life sciences with her scientific background and her communication and organization skills to help clients successfully apply for funding for their innovative research.

Sabine Packeiser-Oppedijk, PhD

Senior Consultant / Team Lead

Sabine obtained her MSc. in the field of medicinal chemistry and drug innovation from the Utrecht University. Her interest in the molecular basis of medicine resulted in the continuing her career as a PhD-researcher in the field of biochemistry and microbiology researching antibiotics and antimicrobial resistance. As a consultant at Catalyze Sabine uses her background in life science to procure funding for innovative research.

Max van Zandvoort


Max van Zandvoort obtained his Master’s degree in Medical Biology with the specialization Science, Management and Innovation at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He combined his background in biology with his passion for business to specialize in the commercial side of Life Sciences. At Catalyze, Max combines his business knowledge and scientific background to help entrepreneurs and researchers obtain financing for the development and commercialization of innovative initiatives.

Reinoud Brenkman


Reinoud Brenkman obtained his Master’s degree in Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience with a specialisation in Science, Business and Policy at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. During his Master’s he has participated in several innovative business projects and wrote his thesis about the implications of neuromarketing for online marketing SME’s. As a consultant at Catalyze, Reinoud combines his scientific background with his passion for innovation and business development to help our clients successfully apply for funding for their promising initiatives.

Dalila El Ouarrat, PhD


Dalila El Ouarrat PhD studied Biomedical Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam, and specialized as a molecular and cell biologist graduating with a MSc from the University of Cambridge UK.

Ester Weijers, PhD

Project Manager

Ester Weijers is Project Manager at Catalyze. Ester holds a PhD in Cardiovascular Sciences from the VU University in Amsterdam and has experience as post-doc, scientist and consultant. She is experienced in writing grant applications and managing large collaborative research projects, including public-private partnerships.

Daniel Cavalli, PhD


Daniel pursued his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Biotechnology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and his PhD in Regenerative Medicine at the Technische Universität Dresden. Being passionate about Life Science innovation, Daniel joined Catalyze as a Consultant to take the responsibility of helping his clients achieve the funding necessary to market their innovative technologies.

Benjamin Sieters

Investment Manager

Benjamin obtained his MSc in Biomedical Sciences with a focus on science based business at Leiden University. He worked as R&D communications manager at Danone Nutricia Research and gained entrepreneurial experience as founder of a small service company offering IT support and marketing. For 3 years, he worked as Consultant Life Sciences and Biotech, securing over € 10 million in funding programmes like SME instrument Ph 1 & 2, Eurostars, Vroege Fase Financiering, NWO Take-off. Benjamin gained experience in proof-of-concept investment, license deals and strategic alliances as business developer at the LUMC. Currently, Benjamin is investment manager at Catalyze Group.

Sedef Iskit, PhD


Sedef Iskit, PhD, is a molecular biologist specialized in cancer research. After finishing her PhD at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, Sedef went on to pursue her strong interest in medical communications as a freelance writer. As a Consultant at Catalyze, she is using her strong research and communication skills to help innovative biomedical projects receive the funding they need to improve lives.



Mohammad Tabibi


Mohammad Tabibi obtained his Bachelor degree in Biomedical Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and has successfully completed a Master program in Management and Entrepreneurship within Health and Life Sciences. Mohammad has expert knowledge of theory development and methodology of transdisciplinary research and can integrate insights from different scientific disciplines and other sources of information in Health and Life Science. At Catalyze, Mohammad combines his scientific background, analytical skills and entrepreneurial spirit to bring innovative ideas to the market.

Max Seignette


Max obtained a bachelor degree in Psychobiology at the UvA followed by a master degree in Management, Policy Analysis & Entrepreneurship in Health and Life Sciences (MPA) at the VU. Over the years Max developed a passion for Life Sciences and as a consultant he will help promising business ideas with making their way to the market.

Erik van Tilborg, PhD


Erik van Tilborg obtained his Master’s degree in Fundamental Neuroscience at Maastricht University. For his Master thesis, he spent eight months doing neuroscience research at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Erik obtained his PhD degree at the University Medical Center Utrecht, where he managed multiple research projects to develop novel treatments for brain injury in preterm infants. At Catalyze, Erik combines his passion for life sciences and his interest in R&D to assist clients in acquiring funding for innovative projects and constructive collaborations.

Evelyne Klaassen


Evelyne obtained a bachelor degree Biomedical Sciences and a master degree Biomedical Sciences Management at the Leiden University. During her master she gained knowledge in the business side of biomedical and life sciences and she is very motivated to apply this knowledge in her work as a consultant for Catalyze.

Sebastian Schee gennant Halfmann, PhD


For Sebastian, working at Catalyze allows him to apply his academic background in European Public Health and innovation in healthcare and ICT to practical scenarios helping clients to realize their ideas and to bring their products successfully to the market.

Carla van Alem, MSc


Carla studied Biomedical Science in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and obtained both her Bachelor and Master’s degree there. She then moved to Leiden to start as a PhD candidate in the fields of nephrology and immunology at the Leiden University Medical Center. Her main focus was on the preclinical evaluation of a novel drug in kidney transplantation.At Catalyze she combines her scientific background, communication and writing skills to raise funding for innovative fundamental and applied research in Life Sciences.

Ashley James


Ashley James obtained her Bachelor of Biomedicine and Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering (Distinction) at The University of Melbourne, with a six-month exchange to Delft University of Technology. For her Master thesis she successfully completed the BioDesign Innovation Program, building a business model based on an observed unmet clinical need. At Catalyze, she combines her commercial mindset and passion for innovation in Life Sciences to stimulate our clients’ successful growth in their promising initiatives.

Paul de Vries


After an original education in Molecular Neuroscience, Paul’s interest in entrepreneurship in biotech and medical innovation got sparked early during his career. Now he dedicates himself to supporting other achieve greatness, providing the necessary support for biotech startups to reach the next critical stage in development.


Rizgar Saltik

Consultant / Valuation Consultant

Rizgar Saltik obtained his bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology at the University of Amsterdam followed by a master’s degree in Science and Business Management at the Utrecht University. Parallel to his studies he developed a strong entrepreneurial background with a specialization in validation methodologies for tech startups. At Catalyze, Rizgar combines his scientific and entrepreneurial background to bring innovative products to the market.

Maurice van Rotterdam

Consultant / Valuation Consultant

Maurice has a background in Biomedical Science Management from Leiden University. He joined Catalyze at their Amsterdam headquarters, where he will be performing as a consultant. During his Masters program, Maurice developed both scientific and commercial skills which he will apply towards supporting promising scientific ideas making their way to success.

Luc Schoppink


Luc Schoppink obtained two Master degrees, in Neurosciences and Life Science Based Management and Entrepreneurship, at the VU University of Amsterdam. During his studies he was involved in several scientific and business oriented research projects and has developed a keen interest in the field of Life Sciences from an entrepreneurial perspective. As a consultant at Catalyze, Luc combines his scientific and business background to take innovations forward and help bring new ideas to the market.

Peter Groothuis


As an Industrial Design Engineer from the TUDelft with a cum-laude Master’s degree in Management and Innovation from the Erasmus University Rotterdam, Peter understands what it takes to develop and commercialize new technologies, services and products . At Catalyze, he aims to make a positive impact on society by helping innovative research get the dilutive and non-dilutive funding it requires to reach the market.

Olav Veldhuizen

Project Manager

Olav Veldhuizen is Project Manager at Catalyze. Olav has a strong background in EU project management and grant writing including FP7, COST Action and IMI2.

Maarten Doornbos, PhD

Project Manager

Maarten Doornbos is project manager at Catalyze. After obtaining his Master’s degree in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences at Leiden University he did a PhD in Molecular Pharmacology at the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). At Catalyze he combines his scientific background with a strong drive to bring innovation forward.

Kristine Stickney

Project Manager

Kristine holds a master’s degree in neurosciences from Vrije Universiteit. She has a background working in project management for both pre-clinical and clinical research companies. At Catalyze, she combines her scientific knowledge and work experience to facilitate successful project delivery.

Mathijs De Kleer

Consultant WBSO

Mathijs has a bachelor and a Master’s degree in Bio-Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Leiden. He specialized in Science-Based Business during the end of his Master, combining his understanding of innovative (drug) research with business. As consultant WBSO, he will contribute to the growth of (starting) companies in the life sciences sector.

Aniek Doensen

Funding Advisor

Aniek obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Technical Medicine and a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering, both at the University of Twente. During her master she focused on bionanotechnology, controlled drug delivery and polymer chemistry.

Yoëlle Schell

Funding Advisor

Yoëlle obtained a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences with the specializations neurobiology and immunology at the VU University in Amsterdam. During her Master she studied specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators in multiple sclerosis. As a consultant strategic funding at Catalyze, Yoëlle aims to find the best match between projects and funding opportunities.

Wijna Bekker

Corporate Recruiter

Wijna Bekker is corporate recruiter at Catalyze. Wijna is responsible for attracting bright and talented people to facilitate Catalyze’s ambitious growth vision for the coming years.

Brian Steur

Financial Controller

Brian Steur is responsible for the monthly, quarterly and annual financial reports of Catalyze. Furthermore, he is responsible for the payments of invoices, salaries and for the payroll taxes employees. He started his financial career in the medical center in Baarn, where he was responsible for the debt administration for ten years. The next five years Brian worked at Meeuwsen Ten Hoopen in Baarn (accountancy company) being responsible for all of their SME clients.

Margreet Singerling

Administration Officer

Margreet Singerling is Administration Officer at Catalyze. She is responsible for incoming and outgoing mail, administrative aspects, and preparing invoices. In addition, she helps preparing the payroll stubs.

Peter Schoevers

Founder & Chairman

Peter holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Groningen and IMD. He worked for Solvay Pharmaceuticals for 10 years in international management positions in the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Belgium and Japan. Peter has been active as entrepreneur since 1998 and has founded companies such as marviQ, Catalyze and Julius Clinical where he served as CEO from 2007 until 2016. Currently Peter is active as an entrepreneurial investor and non-executive director in several companies.


A must-have if you’re interested in getting your business to the next level